Carolyn Young

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Extra Gentle Practice Was All I Could Do

Photo by  Anne Wu  on flickr

Photo by Anne Wu on flickr

I was ready to practice. I didn’t lack motivation or time. I completed the sun salutations and then, suddenly, it just felt like too much. I felt tired and depleted. I sat down, folded forward and stayed there for what seemed like a long time. I did a few more long holding postures. That was my asana practice for the day. It was as though my body was telling me what to do. It sounds crazy, but that was exactly what was happening. Despite my desire to practice, something was telling me not to. I have experienced not wanting to practice and having to find the motivation to do so. But to be willing to practice and physically feeling unable was new.

Ashtanga can be physically demanding, which is one of the reasons why I love it. It requires dedication and consistency. But what if you have an injury or your body doesn’t bend that way or you just don’t have the energy to practice? Do you skip practice?

Even though I was having an off day, I stayed on my mat. Although I didn’t do the set sequence of poses, I did what I could, and what I felt I needed in that moment. I was present. I took the time to breathe slowly and deliberately, instead of muscling my way through practice, which is what I would have done months ago. I took the time to observe, listen and learn, not only to my physical body, but to my emotions, thoughts, and desires as well. I am beginning to notice small changes in the way I practice.

There are so many aspects to pay attention to other than the physical. The body is wise and will talk to you if you are willing to listen. Knowing when to push through and when to scale back is a very fine line. Yoga should enhance your self-awareness and help you find the balance on and off the mat that best supports your lifestyle. 

Lots of Love,


Carolyn YoungComment